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September 29, 2014

let’s source the crowds

While it may seem like a contemporary term, many museums, including the Smithsonian, have been using crowdsourcing as a strategy for years.  At the Smithsonian, we’ve been at it since 1849, when the first Secretary, Joseph Henry, used 150 weather observers all over the U.S. to contribute data, an activity that led to the formation of the National Weather Service.

The Smithsonian still sources the power of our audiences today on topics ranging from tree leaves and gardens to immigration and stories from rural America.  We’d love to hear from you!  Please contribute your voice, or let your visitors know, about the projects below.  Do you have a crowdsourcing initiative you’d like to share?  Let us know in the comments.

SI Transcription Center– Crowdsourcing transcriptions of primary source documents https://transcription.si.edu/

Leafsnap – Crowdsourcing tree images for mobile app http://leafsnap.com/

worksgarden

crowdsourced image of kohlrabi growing in the garden of The Works, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Newark, Ohio.

Encyclopedia of Life – Crowdsourcing species-related media http://eol.org/info/contribute

Our American Journey (National Museum of American History) – Crowdsourcing oral histories of American experience of migration and immigration  http://my.si.edu/oaj/story

Community of Gardens (Smithsonian Gardens)- Learn from the ways that gardens and gardeners of all backgrounds have shaped America’s landscape.  https://communityofgardens.si.edu/

Agriculture Innovation and Heritage Archive (National Museum of American History) – Think about how transformations in American agriculture have affected you, your family, your community, and the environment.    http://americanhistory.si.edu/agheritage/how-to-participate

Stories from Main Street  (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service)– Crowdsourcing stories about rural America  – http://www.storiesfrommainstreet.org/

Ask Smithsonian (Smithsonian Magazine) – Try to stump us with a question about anything.  Really, anything.  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/ask-smithsonian/ask-form/?no-ist

Will to Adorn (Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage) – Listen to and contribute your stories about the choices you make everyday when you dress for school, work, fun, or special occasions. http://www.festival.si.edu/2013/Will_to_Adorn/GetTheApp/

eMammal (National Museum of Natural History) – Work with researchers to document mammals using camera traps. http://emammal.wordpress.com/about/

Finally, here’s a look at some spectacular online exhibitions created by crowdsourcing:

from the crowdsourced exhibition, A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America

from the crowdsourced exhibition, A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America

A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center) – The first crowdsourced gallery of the Asian Pacific American experience around the world as lived on one day.  http://smithsonianapa.org/life2014/

My Space Shuttle Memories (National Air and Space Museum) Did you ever see a space shuttle launch or land in person?   http://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/moving-beyond-earth/memories.cfm

Portraits of Planet Ocean (National Museum of Natural History) – Stunning photo gallery of the world’s magnificent oceans by oceanographers and enthusiasts.   https://www.flickr.com/groups/portraitsofplanetocean/

 

 

February 18, 2014

Young Historians, Living History- Today’s Stop: Greensboro, NC!

Special thanks to Paula Lee, Smithsonian Affiliations intern, for this guest post. This is the second of a five-part blog series she is writing as part of the Young Historians, Living Histories (YHLH) collaboration with the Asian Pacific American Center and our Affiliate network.

Students of the Montagnard community proudly representing the Smithsonian Museum and Greensboro Historical Center

Students of the Montagnard community proudly representing the Smithsonian Museum and Greensboro Historical Center

 

Greensboro, North Carolina is home to the largest Montagnard community living not only in the United States, but outside of Vietnam which makes Greensboro, a pretty big deal. Today I’ll share what the Young Historians, Living Histories project has enabled the Smithsonian and its collaborators to discover in the recent weeks! Dean Macleod, Curator of Education at the Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, North Carolina), guided me through some fascinating facts about the Montagnard community that he learned through interacting with the community’s youth.

French for “mountain people,” the Montagnard (pronounced mon-tuhn-yahrd), are the indigenous people of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Due to political, religious, and land disputes initiated by the Communist majority of North and South Vietnam, the natives were evacuated from the highlands at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 through American efforts. The refugees began their resettlement to Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, NC starting as early as 1986 in multiple but slow waves of immigration. There are as much as 9,000 Montagnard refugees in North Carolina with a majority in Greensboro, some of which have identified as Americans.

No 'I' in Team - Students take on different roles in order to complete the oral histories.

The diverse Montagnard youth unite to complete each role required for the interviewing processes.

With this in mind, Macleod approached the community with caution and respect and discovered that “the youth of the Montagnard community were thrilled that the Museum was engaging with them, and interested in digitizing their stories.” Although the 15 Montagnard students are of one community, they are unique to each other. Each student represented separate tribes as well as being refugees from different waves of immigration; some were born in Cambodia, others raised in Vietnam, and a few even born in America. Macleod remarks that the students’ involvement in the program was a way for them to feel like they were giving back for the sacrifices made by their ancestors.

The Montagnard stories in Greensboro even inspired other participating Affiliates to learn more. “I didn’t know anything about the Montagnard until hearing about this project. Thanks to the Greensboro Historical Museum, I’ve done a bit of research as a result,” said Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education at the Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, Hawaii).

Because of this research, Greensboro Historical Center included the stories and artifacts in their Voices of a City: Greensboro North Carolina  exhibition. This exhibit displays 300 years of local history that enlighten its viewers on the extraordinary stories that the city has to say about the community that shaped it.

Voices of a City Exhibition Photo Credit: Greensboro Historical Center

Voices of a City Exhibition. Photo courtesy Greensboro Historical Center

Don’t forget to check back, next week’s entry will highlight students in action as we step into the spotlight and begin filming and interviewing!

Mic Check! Students prepare to begin filming the interviews.

Mic check ! Let’s get these stories heard.

Students help edit each other's interviews using Mac OS Editing Software

Students are using Mac OS Editing Software to edit their videos.

 

September 24, 2013

Affiliates hear it first from SITES!

Celebrate your special connection to the Smithsonian. SITES is offering Smithsonian Affiliates first dibs on booking these BRAND NEW exhibitions before we market them widely. Contact us today to reserve your preferred booking period.

Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project 

Credit:  Flip Shulke, South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, June 1973. DOCUMERICA Photography Project. National Archives.

Credit:
Flip Shulke, South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, June 1973. DOCUMERICA Photography Project. National Archives.

 Images of everyday life in 1970s America: disco dancing and inflation, protests and bell bottoms, gas shortages and suburban sprawl.  At a time when war and scandal wore on the national psyche, a burgeoning movement to protect our natural environment was gaining force. 

In 1971, inspired by the Farm Security Administration’s photography project of the 1930s and 40s, the newly established U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the DOCUMERICA Photography Project to document environmental troubles and triumphs across the country.  About 70 photographers, including Flip Schulke, John Corn, Danny Lyon, and John H. White, were urged to capture “the human connection” to the environment, from small towns in coal country to urban streetscapes.  What emerged was a moving and textured portrait of America.  Capturing a rapidly changing world with surprising resonances to the present, DOCUMERICA culls some of the most striking photographs from a trove of thousands.

This unique exhibition is a collaboration between SITES and the National Archives and Records Administration which now holds the original DOCUMERICA photographic materials. You can browse through thousands of DOCUMERICA images on their website and Flickr.

90 color photographs, text panels, labels, and video
$7,000 per 10-week slot plus outgoing shipping
Approximately 350 running feet
Moderate security
Tour begins: As early as February 2015
Contact: Minnie Russell, 202.633.3160


Patios, Pools, and the Invention of the American Backyard

Benton Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, circa 1950. Archives of American Gardens

Benton Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, circa 1950. Archives of American Gardens

The suburban backyard is so familiar it feels like a permanent fixture of American life.  But it’s actually an invention of the 1950s that grew up along with the Baby Boomers. Produced in partnership with the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens, Patios, Pools, and the Invention of the American Backyard is a fun, retro look at the concept of “outdoor living” that was created in post-World War II America.  From the mid-century rise of the suburbs and changes in home design to the popularity of DIY,  barbecues, and tiki parties, the exhibition explores trends in society that were reflected in the typical American backyard.  Topics include post-war garden design such as the Western, New Canaan, and Japanese styles, and the role of female landscape architects and tastemakers.  Patios, Pools, and the Invention of the American Backyard documents the new technologies and materials that led to inexpensive home pools and aluminum patio furniture, as well as the use of chemicals such as DDT and the resulting nascent environmental movement.  From Levittown to Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, don’t miss your chance as an Affiliate to reminisce about the American backyard.

Six double-sided, freestanding structures with reproductions of garden designs, vintage photographs, advertisement art, and text
$5,500 per 10-week slot plus outgoing shipping
1,000-1,500 square feet
Limited security
Tour begins:  March 21, 2015
Contact:  Ed Liskey, 202.633.3142

 

Beyond Bollywood:  Indian Americans Shape the Nation

A celebration of Hindu marriage vows renewal. Photo: Preston Merchant.

A celebration of Hindu marriage vows renewal. Photo: Preston Merchant.

 From builders of the first railroads in the American West to leaders of the digital economy, immigrants from the subcontinent of India and their descendants have made deep and lasting contributions to the American story.  Beyond Bollywood:  Indian Americans Shape the Nation, created in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center, explores the Indian American experience and this community’s vital political, professional, and cultural contributions to American life.  Weaving together stories of individual achievement and collective struggle, the exhibition uses photography, vibrant color and design, narrative prose, and engaging interactives, to tell this uniquely American story.  Beyond Bollywood is an inspirational look at the history and contributions of this community that merges India and America.  This exhibition tour is a wonderful opportunity for SI Affiliates to educate, honor, and engage this burgeoning population across the country!

 24 wall-hung panels with text, photographs, charts, maps and graphics; display thalis; audio station; videos on DVD; traveling trunk
$2,400 per 10-week slot plus outgoing shipping
150 running feet
Limited security
Tour begins:  May 2, 2015
Contact:  Ed Liskey, 202.633.3142

 
We hope you’ll take advantage of these early-bird notices only for Smithsonian Affiliates- another benefit of your being a partner to the Smithsonian!

 

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